I remember very clearly the day I wandered around Mothercare looking for a book to celebrate Katie’s arrival. I wanted the adoption equivalent of a new baby book to log her arrival and subsequent life, but there were none available. All I found were row upon row of books about babies; pink and blue books or books with baby animals to detail their in-utero journey; what they weighed at birth; stories of the day they were born; they day the cut their first tooth etc.
Those books were no good for me because my baby was 2 years old the day she came home. She had already cut her first tooth; said her first word; taken her first steps and those were all events I wouldn’t be a part of. There would be enormous gaps in the information I could provide in one of these books. If I’m honest I felt quite sad because it highlighted that I so different from other mums-to-be and that my daughter was different from other children. I wanted to celebrate our life together but it wasn’t possible using an off the shelf book. I put the books down; walked away and accepted that I wouldn’t be able to log the information I wanted to in a traditional way. This blog was born in part to meet that need.
If I’m honest I didn’t give the idea of the book much more thought until recently when I was excited because a chance tweet on Twitter brought to my attention a book published by Jesse Toksvig-Stewart and Kat Willott at Ugly Duck Books called “My Amazing Family and Me”. I tweeted Jesse and Kat immediately and asked if I could review the book and share it with all the readers of this blog. They agreed immediately and we shared some lovely email communications whilst the logistics were arranged.
“My Amazing Family and Me” and is a welcome home book aimed specifically at adopters and families who don’t fit the typical nuclear family set up. It is a book that has been made with understanding and emotion. The concept came when one of Jesse’s mums, who is a Foster Carer, adopted a baby girl. Jesse realised that not only was the book used for her own memories an incredibly heterosexual book, with the standard Mum/Dad sections, but that it would also not be suitable for her newly adopted sister because it would not be possible to complete sections on how her mum felt when she was growing inside her. Just as I had felt 5 years ago when we adopted Katie.
An idea was born!
Jesse approached her friend Kat Willott who is an artist with her idea for a record book that would celebrate all families. As a twin Kat could understand this as well so the two collaborated to create this truly lovely book. The book is beautifully illustrated with pictures that would suit children of all ages and gender. Best of all you can start writing in it from the point you meet your child. There are no awkward sections that will need to be crossed out or ignored. There are sections on things your child likes to play with or watch on TV; there is a section on their arrival in their new home and how they settled in; you can write about birthdays and holidays and achievements. It’s a great concept and one that I am delighted to be able to write about.